Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes takes place at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California this Sunday, January 3. Fillies and mares four years old and upward will be after the winner's share of the $200,000 purse when they race about 6.5 furlongs on Santa Anita's hillside turf course.
A solid field of 12 older females will give it a go in the Monrovia Stakes - race 7 on Santa Anita's Sunday schedule. Post time is 3:30 PM. Here is a peek into the past performances of all 12 entries for this competitive Grade 2 stakes.
Ageless 3-1 - Arnaud Delacour trained mare has 22 career starts with 11 wins, four second and four third place finishes - competitive almost every time out. She placed in all five starts in 2015 - three wins, a second and a third place finish and enters on a nice two race win streak - the minor Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes last time out at Keeneland October 9 and the Grade 3 Royal North Stakes at Woodbine - a race she's now won two years in a row. She also had a third against males in the Grade 3 Jaipur Invitational at Belmont Park in 2015 and a win in the minor The Very One Stakes in May - also for the second year in a row. She has placed in 13 of her last 14 starts - a fourth in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint against the boys on this track being the only blemish over that span. Ageless has been in every race the last two years and is expected to be again Sunday. Julien Leparoux has the mount on the morning line favorite from post 11.
Shrinking Violet 4-1 - defending champion in this race - Wesley Ward trained mare has 20 career starts with eight wins, a second and four third place finishes. She has been inconsistent since last year's Monrovia - a ninth place finish as favorite last time out in the minor Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint followed a nice 4 3/4 length win in the minor Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar in August, a sixth in the Grade 2 Highlander Stakes at Woodbine in July and an OK third on the minor The Very One Stakes at Pimlico in May. Shrinking Violet has two stakes wins in her last five starts overall, has won her only start on this unique course but isn't scared to throw in a dud as well. Kent Desormeaux, who has guided her to three wins in five tries will be in the saddle from gate 6 Sunday as Shrinking Violet searches for a little consistency as the morning line second choice.
Prize Exhibit 5-1 - British bred James Cassidy trained filly finished fourth in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and has been up and down since. She posted two nice wins early in the summer - the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes in June and the Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes on this track in July. She went on to a respectable third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in August and a second in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes in September. She has struggled in her last two starts - a seventh in the Grade 1 QE II Challenge Cup at Keeneland October 10 was followed by a sixth last time out in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar November 29. Prize Exhibit had looked very good before her last two starts and hopes to get back to her early summer form from post 5 with Santiago Gonzalez in the irons.
Baruta 6-1 - Brazilian bred Richard Mandella trained mare has been a tad difficult to figure out lately for sure. A fourteenth place finish last time out in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar November 29 followed a good win over Baruta among others on this track in the Grade 3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes October 25 and a sixth as favorite in the restricted C.E.R.F. Stakes September 6. Other good results include a second in her graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Stakes August 16 and two straight Allowance scores this past summer. She has 22 career starts with six wins, seven seconds and three third place finishes and will be after her second graded stakes score in her last three starts Sunday. Baruta enters in decent form on a hillside track she's recorded two wins, three seconds and a third place finish in seven tries - from the unfortunate outside post 12 with Flavien Prat getting the mount.
Velvet Mesquite 8-1 - Blake Heap trained mare has been up and down in her career. She won the minor California Distaff Handicap on this track in October, 2014 and started out 2015 with a respectable third in last year's Monrovia. Velvet Mesquite failed to place in her next two starts however - a fifth in the minor California Distaff here October 10 followed a seventh in the minor C.E.R.F. Stakes at Del Mar September 6. She enters on the heels of consecutive runner-up finishes - an Allowance Optional Claiming at Del Mar November 22 and the Grade 3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes here in October. Velvet Mesquite hopes for her first win in 14 months and first ever graded stakes score Sunday and arrives in decent form. Rafael Bejarano has been tabbed to ride from post 7.
Singing Kitty 8-1 - has won five of 13 career starts for trainer Matthew Chew - three of eight this year to go along with a second and a third place finish. She enters off a respectable third place finish in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes here October 17 after a win by 1 1/4 lengths in the minor 6 1/2 furlong Unzip Me Stakes on this track September 26, a second in the minor Sandy Blue Stakes at Del Mar in August, a seventh in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Stakes in May and a fifth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita April 4. Before that was a two race win streak - the minor China Doll Stakes at 19-1 odds March 7 and the minor California Cup at 7-1 odds last January - both results on this track. Singing Kitty had a bit of a slump in the spring but looks to be back on track ahead of this one. Gary Stevens will be aboard as she chases her first graded stakes score - against older foes for the first time from the rail.
Illuminant 8-1 - lightly raced Michael McCarthy trained filly has two wins and two second place finishes in six career starts. She enters on a two race win streak - an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out November 27 and a maiden score on this track October 10. Before that was a second, a fourth and another second respectively in a trio of MSW races. Illuminant steps into stakes company for the first time Sunday in good form. Mike Smith gets the call from gate 8.
Theatre Star 15-1 - Tom Proctor trained mare has placed in 11 of 16 career starts five wins, three seconds and three third place finishes. She won the minor Justakiss Stakes at Delaware Park in June and has since finished third in a trio of stakes races - the Grade 3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes last time out on this track October 25, the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint September 14 and the Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar in July. She has placed in five straight races heading into the weekend but is still after her first graded stakes score. Drayden Van Dyke will be in the irons from gate 10 Sunday as Theatre Star attempts to get that win.
Heaven's Stairway 15-1 - Scott Hansen trained mare has five wins, a second and a third place finish in 12 career starts and has won two of four starts this year. Last time out was a fifth in her graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Stakes here way back on April 11 which followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score on this track in March and an eighth in the minor Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint last January. She looks for her first stakes score Sunday but arrives in sketchy form. Ignacio Puglisi rides from post 3.
My Year Is a Day 20-1 - French bred Phil D'Amato trained filly placed in six of seven starts at home (3 wins, 2 seconds and a third place finish) but has failed to hit the board in three starts since her arrival in North America. Last time out was a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Del Mar November 22 after consecutive fifth place finishes - the minor Little Silver Stakes at Monmouth Park in July and the Grade 3 Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs in May. My Year Is a Day hopes for a major breakthrough Sunday but enters in less-than-spectacular fashion. Tyler Baze has been tabbed with snapping a slump from gate 2.
Lutine Belle 20-1 - Jerry Hollendorfer trained filly was last seen finishing third in the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes here way back on June 27 after failing to hit the board in three graded stakes races - a fifth in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Stakes in May, an eighth in the Grade 3 Providencia in April and another fifth in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes last January 31. She started her year with a good win in the minor Blue Norther Stakes here on New Years' Day. Lutine Belle now has three wins, a second and two third place finishes in 10 career starts and hopes for her first graded stakes score in her first race in six months. Alex Solis rides from post 9.
Our Pure Creation 50-1 - will make her graded stakes debut Sunday after 16 career starts produced five wins, a second and three third place finishes. Last time out was a fourth in the minor Queen of the Green Stakes at Turf Paradise November 28 after an eighth in the minor Betty Grable Stakes at Del mar November 8 and a good win on this track - the minor California Distaff Handicap in October. She placed in three straight minor stakes races earlier this year but will look to hit the board for the first time in three starts Sunday. Fernando Hernandez Perez has the mount on the longest shot in the field from gate 4.
Race 7 on Santa Anita's Sunday card with a Post Time of 6:33 PM.
||My Year Is a Day (FR)
||Our Pure Creation
||Prize Exhibit (GB)
||Drayden Van Dyke